By Wendy Sarubbi | June 20, 2012 1:05 pm

An interprofessional educational team from the UCF, the University of Florida pharmacy program and the VA Medical Center Orlando was one of 34 selected groups invited to participate at the first meeting of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), a new national organization focused on better integrating the education of nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, public health professionals, and other members of the patient health care team.

The UCF team, led by Dr. Richard Peppler, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and interim director of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, included Erin St. Ong, assistant dean of academic affairs at the University of Florida School of Pharmacy; Susan Chase, associate dean of academic affairs at the UCF College of Nursing; and Keith Close, director of education at the Orlando VA Medical Center. On the first day of the conference in Herndon, VA, the team was selected to present to the entire group how Lake Nona’s medical city provides an unprecedented infrastructure for interprofessional education.

Based on discussions at the conference, the UCF team is now working on developing an interprofessional curriculum that would incorporate the upcoming new VA medical center and the College of Nursing, which the university hopes to relocate to medical city.

Interprofessional education emphasizes team learning among students of various health professions. The goal of the strategy is to teach students in every health profession to learn and eventually practice in a more collaborative, team-based environment that promotes safer, improved and more cost effective patient care. Called “partnership for patients,” the approach seeks to break down silos, encourage communication and encourage a seamless approach to caring for patients.

“The road to quality care is through coordinated care,” said Dr. Peppler. “And coordinated care is all about team building.”


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